What is sleep apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a dangerous condition whereby the person stops breathing during sleep. This cessation of breathing can happen several times in a hour causing an increased risk of High Blood Pressure, Heart Attack, Stroke and Diabetes just to name a few.
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Does the sleeper know that they have sleep apnea?
Usually a person has no idea that they have sleep apnea unless a family member tells them that they snore loudly and seem to stop breathing in their sleep. As a spouse or significant other you have a duty to the health and welfare of your spouse to tell them if you think they may have sleep apnea and ask them to seek medical help for this potentially life threatening health problem. Make sure that they tell their doctor that you have told them that they stop breathing in their sleep, so that the doctor will know to order a sleep study to detect if the person has sleep apnea.
I think my husband/wife may have sleep apnea, what should I look for?
First and foremost
Does your partner snore in their sleep:
Snoring is one of the first signs of Sleep .
When you snore your soft palate vibrates or your tongue slips back into the airway causing a partial blockage of the airway.
This blockage however may become complete causing the snorer to stop breathing. This is Sleep apnea
What should I be on the look out for to help identify if my spouse has sleep apnea?
Listen to the pattern of the snore.
Typical Sleep Apnea sufferers have a pattern of Heavy breathing followed by shallower breathing then they stop breathing.
This can actually occur more than once a minute!
If you notice any regular changes in the normal breathing pattern you should see if you observe this stoppage of breathing and count the duration in seconds if you can.
Your spouse may be restless in their sleep or be short of breath upon awakening. This is due to the fact that they never truly reach restorative REM sleep.
Lastly, if you notice that your spouse seems to be suffering from sleep apnea you should talk to them and urge them to discuss the problem with their doctor. Plan on attending this doctors visit so that you can discuss your observations with them to help the doctor determine if a sleep study is necessary.
Tips & Warnings
Sleep Apnea is a dangerous condition which if suspected should be brought to the attention of your doctor where it can then identified and treated to prevent complications.
If you feel you may have Sleep Apnea you should seek medical attention for this treatable condition
It has been suggested that at least 3 out of every 10 individuals have sleep apnea for which they use a cpap machine or other device when sleeping.
If you snore there is a high probability that you have sleep apnea